Tuesday 18 December 2018
With no family commitments, I decided to activate a couple of Parks. I headed off to Rutherglen and on to Yarrawonga and just to the west of the town, turning into Brears Road. At the end of the road, I swung right into the Park.
Yarrawonga Regional Park VKFF-0981
I drove around towards the Green Bank campsites and found a spot to set up. I parked and tossed a line across a tree branch and hauled up the dipole centre. The antenna was soon up and the gear assembled using the tray of the vehicle as an operating table. I decided to use the IC-7300 and hooked it up to the extra battery in the vehicle.
I spotted myself with patchy phone coverage and started calling on 7.144 MHz SSB. John VK2YW was first in the log, followed by Geoff VK3SQ. I noticed that the SWR seemed high and double checked the antenna links. I found that although I had opened both 40 m links, one of the pair of connectors were quite close, so folded the far end of the link back over the antenna wire to improve the gap. All then seemed to be okay. The first 40 minutes of operating yielded 15 contacts, with some deep QSB at times. After several minutes of calling without responses, I moved down to 40 m CW and made four contacts. I then reconfigured the antenna for 20 m SSB for 11 contacts in 12 minutes. With no replies to calls, I moved down to 20 m CW and 10 minutes of calling yielded five more in the log. I then moved back to 40 m SSB where 30minutes of calling yielded another 10 contacts. I had 45 in the log in just over two hours of operating.
I packed up and headed back into Yarrawonga to purchase some lunch and then headed back towards Rutherglen. I stopped at the turn off to Lake Moodemere and had a quick look at the visitor display on Lake Road. I then travelled around to McDonald Road and drove up to the locked gate and checked the surrounds.
Lake Moodemere Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2145
I was aware that the boundaries of the Park were tricky. This is complicated by the fact that most of the surrounds of the Lake are part of the Lake Moodemere Reserve – one needs to take care that one operates from within the official designated boundaries of the target Park! Looking again at the boundaries on the maps, the locked gate is just inside the Park boundary. Looking at the mapping at hand, I was not sure that I was inside the boundary. I could have set up SOTA style by walking into the Park, but it was a hot afternoon. (I had left my laptop in Wodonga and did not have the detailed Park boundary with me.) I decided to explore further, and travelled around to Federation Way and travelled north to Distillery Road, then south along Anderson Road. I soon reached a gate which was unlocked, with a sign asking for the gate to be closed. I travelled on south and through another unlocked gate, and through some soft surface sections, but all in 2WD. I reached a stony slope and continued along the track, passing some pump stations beside the lake. I soon saw the locked gate and the back of the Park sign ahead of me. I was sure that I was inside the southern section of the Park, so parked and started setting up.
The northern section of the Park can be reached from Hyde Road, off Lake Road, but again one must carefully check one’s location. A short section of the NW boundary abuts the road.
Once set up, I spotted and started calling on 40 m SSB. Geoff VK3SQ was the first to call, together with Paul VK5PAS. 30 minutes yielded 19 contacts. I moved down the band for CW and worked seven stations in about 25 minutes. Altogether, I worked 26 stations, all on 40 m. It was a hot afternoon, so I decided to pack up and head back to Wodonga. A return visit will be required to bring this Park up to WWFF qualification.